The End is Near: Start Bitching to the Right People

Your apathy will be the downfall of our entire society. Thanks to your ignorance on current events, our elected officials are allowed to run amok, doing as they please, with little repercussion. Were it not for the media which you regularly criticize, you wouldn’t even know what the officials you forgot to elect were doing with the money that you gave them for taxes.

I challenge any one with any grievance towards the political system, large or small, to write your representatives. Not an email, not a note, but an old fashioned, well thought out and properly edited letter.

Spend the thirty-seven cents it costs to buy a stamp, slap it on an envelope and mail it to their office’s, which, by the way, are all easily accessible on the Internet. It might sound archaic, but this is the best way to tell ‘the man’ what you really think about the country, state or county that you live in.

Think about it, your friends usually don’t know when you have a personal problem unless you open your mouth and say something, so how are your representatives supposed to know that the roads in your neighborhood never got plowed when it snowed?

Words have no faces or pictures. The only thing the written word has is the power to make you think. Based on your writing, someone can tell how passionate you are about something. If it’s something you feel that strongly about, why are you writing about it in a blog or complaining to your friends over diner? They might care enough to listen, but they probably don’t sit on any seat of power capable of doing anything about it.

There’s a fairly thought provoking focus on the Student Senate this issue and you’d do yourself a disservice not to read it. Keep in mind, however, that it’s up to you as the reader to draw your own conclusions. We’re a newspaper, we report the facts, you’re the reader, you’re supposed to react as a result of what what we’re reporting to you.

Your level of involvement in government will only take you as far as you let it. If you’re just upset that your neighbors have a rusting car parts in the middle of the yard, tell your neighborhood association if you have one; if you don’t, start a petition to create one.

If you think that the U.S. should get out of Iraq, write Congress and/or the Senate, don’t just go to the protest and pick up a button. If you think that you can do a better job than whomever is in office now, what’s stopping you from you from running for office? If you’ve got some type of idea on how to better run the government, speak up already!

This world thrives on rebellion and change. The Earth as we know it today was formed through a series of changes over time, and the most notable changes in society stem from one persons problems with society’s direction. Racism was defeated because enough people spoke out, women and minorities were granted suffrage through bitter protest. Nothing ever stays the same for long because change is inevitable, but sometimes, change needs a catalyst.

This article appears in the seventh (7th) issue of the Montgomery Advocate, the student newspaper of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland Wednesday, December 8th, 2005. It is an excerpt from my biweekly editorial and was posted with my permission.

Hundreds of Thousands Protest US Occupation in Iraq
Protesters represented varied causes, from anti-war messages to pleas for improved foreign policy and aid for needy countries. -photo by Tim Moraca

The following article originally appears in Volume 9, Issue 3, of the Montgomery Advocate , the student newspaper of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, Tuesday, October 4th,  2005.

On Saturday, September 24 hundreds of thousands of protesters descended upon Washington D.C. for the United for Peace and Justice Mobilization and the Operation Ceasefire concert, the largest anti-war protest since the start of U.S. Occupation in Iraq. The protest drew a number of powerful and influential figures including Rep. Maxine Waters (D) of California, former Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and leader of the Bring Them Home Now Tour, a traveling protest aimed at bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq, which coordinated it’s conclusion to fall on the same weekend.

“All of us have a central responsibility in America,” shouted an excited Nader to sea of thousands, “[George W. Bush] has neglected his responsibility…You are the opposition… It’s time to take that opposition [and] with laser precision, tell [your representatives] how you feel about the war. This is the first war opposed by a majority of the people…Here is a president who plunged our nation into the greatest quagmire in American history. George W. Bush must be held accountable [and impeached] for his crimes under Article 2 – Section 4 of the United States Constitution.”

“I am sick and tired of George W. Bush,” cried California Congresswoman Maxine Waters. “We are tired of being lied to,” she continued with a fist raised high in the air, “The U.S. doesn’t deserve a president who left poor people, black people, and white people stranded in New Orleans [to die].”

“Today is a call to action… he has lied over and over again,” Waters went on, “[He] lied when he said he would hold corporate C.E.O’s responsible,” referring to the Enron and Tyco scandals. “On 9/11 he tricked us into believing Saddam Hussein was responsible…I ask you, where are the weapons Mr. President? Then [he] lied again when he said we would be there for 6 months, we want truth Mr. President,” concluded Waters to a roar of applause, whistles and cheers from protesters.

The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke briefly and with a proud assurance, “There’s something wrong with our country when we send folks to help in places that don’t need [help]. We have problems that need [solving] at home…The question isn’t why should we walk out of [the] war, the question is why did we walk in to the war in the first place?”

Operation Ceasefire, a free concert that was held at the Ellipse on the same day sponsored by United for Peace and Justice and Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.), featured such bands as Thievery Corporation, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Le Tigre, and Bouncing Souls.

“I think the fact that they had a concert drew more people out,” said Sarah Owens, President of MC-R’s Philosophy Club, “[but] a lot of people may’ve just come for the concert. When asked if the concert helped the cause, Owens replied, “I think it was good in the sense that it helped people to see the message that a lot of the protesters had, I just think some people didn’t take it seriously.”

D.C. Police quoted the actual number of protesters as upwards of 150,000 people, but protest organizers claimed over 300,000. Some still think that screams and signs of protesters just weren’t loud enough. “I didn’t like the [lack of major media] coverage, Owens says,“With Katrina fresh on peoples minds, they used [hurricane] Rita to overshadow what was going on. There we other protests in other cities all over the world [that day], and [the major news media] kind of just said, ‘Oh, yeah, this happened today too.’ I just think it should’ve been a bigger deal.”

Despite the lack of coverage, many feel that overall goal was accomplished. When asked her opinion about the future of the war Owens replied, I’m really optimistic…I would hope it gets bigger, [but] it seems like people might get pissed off for a little while and then forget about it.”

MC Professor Dedicated Himself to College

The following article originally appears in Volume 9, Issue 2, of the Montgomery Advocate , the student newspaper of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, Tuesday, September 20, 2005.

Douglas Gleason, M.C.-Rockville Professor
Douglas Gleason, M.C.-Rockville Professor

On Wednesday, September 7, Douglas Gleason, the Acting Instructional Dean of Fine, Performing and Visual Arts at the Rockville Campus died. Gleason started at Montgomery College in 1989 teaching photography and held numerous titles at MC including. Administrative Associate to the President of the college in the spring of 1996 as well as serving as the department chair of Visual Communications Technologies (now Communications Arts Technologies) for 6 years and as the Chair of General Education Committee.

Gleason was also a news writer and photographer for the U.S. Air Force from 1969 through 1971. Gleason spent time as a professor of photography at Chowan College in Murfreesboro, North Carolina where he was greatly respected by students and faculty.

“He was very easy to work for,” said Shirley Henry, Gleason’s Secretary in the Communications Art Technologies Department. “He looked for the best in everyone. He never forgot my birthday or Professional’s Day…I always got flowers and candy,” she said.

Photography professor at MC-R Brian Jones was a close colleague and friend to Gleason. “He kept the human element in his teachings and in his personal life. He told the truth,” said Jones, “He always told you exactly what the deal was…he would never lie to you. He knew students and faculty have the same issues.”

Those who knew Gleason never had issues with him. “If a student had an issue, he would help. He knew that sometimes you have to be flexible when dealing with people,” Jones said. “Whenever there was a problem, he was always the first to look for the great compromise. Sometimes a student just can’t afford the supplies around the holidays and you have to choose between buying gifts and buying school supplies. Doug was the kind of person that would say, ‘Go do your shopping first and then get your work done as soon as possible.’”

“Doug really believed in the college,” Professor Jones continued, “He gave the college his life. It was rare when he wasn’t here. He was a pillar; he understood what it took for his department, as well as the college, to survive. Whenever there was grant money available he would let us all know…I would say Doug worked hard, but he would say he only worked hard because he needed the money. He was honest…he was beyond pettiness. ”

“He had been ill for sometime,” remembers Henry, “we kept hoping he’d get better and come back, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. He will be missed by students, staff and faculty. [His death] wasn’t a shock, but a great sadness to us all.”

Gleason’s cremated remains will be placed in the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery on October 17 at 10:30 a.m. Friends and Family are encouraged to attend.